Summary: What has God given to Christians and how does it impact life?
Last week we started our study of 1 Peter; please open your Bibles there….
We noted that this is a letter to encourage all Christians. Peter, an ordinary fisherman, was called, taught, and empowered by the Lord Jesus Christ. Peter’s call from Jesus was to strengthen Christians. As we prepare for celebrating our faith through Communion, let us be strengthened by God’s Word through Peter from 1 Peter 1:3-9, read along with me.…..
Let us note again that this letter was written for Believers of Christ. We can summarize this passage by looking at 4 simple questions for Christians: What has God given? How did it happen? What are the results? And, what are expected responses?
1. What are given to Christians?
v3: new birth
What does a new birth mean? Jesus used the same phrase when He told Nicodemus, who was a religious man, “You must be born again!” And of course, Nicodemus asked, “how can I go back to my mother’s womb?” Jesus replied, every person must be born of the spirit. And so, Christians are spiritually born!
Are you spiritually born? Biblically speaking, and it is the only thing which is true, you are really not a Christian if you’re not spiritually born! Do you really know the biblical truths of being a Christian? (note truth card…)
v3: continues that a Christian has a living hope!
Does this mean that Christians are to walk around saying “I hope for the best for me”? Many will say they are Christians but then they will say, “I hope I will go to heaven!” If you really think about it, this is a silly way of believing Jesus Christ when you’re not really sure if what He says is true. Jesus says you can know that you’re going to heaven! This is what we read in His own Words in the Bible!
Believe and live with the truths from Jesus! If Jesus says you will be in paradise, you will be in paradise!
Now, there is nothing wrong with walking around saying you are hopeful; but as we look deeper into this text, the original Greek word for hope here is elpizo which means being 100% sure! And so, what God is telling Christians here is that you can live with 100% sure (elpizo) you are with God and going to heaven!
And God affirms this with another promise in v4: inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade (kept in heaven); this of course was the promise from Jesus Christ before leaving earth; “My Father's house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?”
And so, much has been given to Christians; and only to Christians. If you are not a Christian, you are still dead in your sins, hopeless life, and get nothing from God for eternity!
But a loving God does note leave anyone in the dark; God tells us how God gives.
How were these blessings given to Christians?
v3: through the resurrection of Jesus Christ!
If Jesus is still dead, how good are all His promises to His followers??
If Jesus is still in a grave, one would be crazy to follow Him!
But yet, isn’t it interesting that Confucius, Buddha, Muhammad, Brigit…. are all dead and in their graves, but yet many follow them!! There are so many people around us living in false headed, headed for eternal disaster!
We Christians must do a better job in sharing the truth; and the only truth is Jesus Christ; eternal gifts and real hope only comes through Jesus Christ!
And we can note that just because God through Jesus Christ gives eternal blessings to people, not all people will have these eternal blessings! We read in v5…..
God gives to all people but only those who have faith in Jesus Christ are assured (shielded) of eternal blessings in heaven when the time comes! This is why Christians have elpizo (for sure) hope because God provides a shield!
With all the gifts to Christians and God’s protection, because God is good, what do you think should result in a Christian??
A true Believer of Christ should be filled with inexpressible and glorious joy!
Now, let us be careful with this. Christians are to live by faith NOT by feelin gs. Yes, the Christian should be filled with joy, the original Greek here actually is saying that a Christian has a source of joy! But what does v6 indicate?
A Christian can have troubles in this world. Actually, a true Christian can expect troubles in this world. Troubles can come to a Christian because of many reasons: due to one’s own sinfulness, the sins of the world, physical aging and death to face, the devil’s schemes, and persecution from those who refuse to believe in Christ.